Low-dose imipramine for refractory functional dyspepsia: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Guidelines recommend the use of neuromodulators in patients with functional dyspepsia not responding to proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and prokinetics; however, there is a lack of data from randomised controlled trials supporting their use. We aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA), in treatment-refractory functional dyspepsia. METHODS: In this single-centre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial, we enrolled consecutive patients with Rome II functional dyspepsia aged 18-80 years. Eligible patients were Helicobacter pylori-negative, had a normal upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and abdominal ultrasound, and remained symptomatic after open-label treatment with 8 weeks of esomeprazole and 4 weeks of domperidone. Patients completed questionnaires assessing dyspepsia symptoms, mood, and insomnia, and were then randomly assigned (1:1) via a computer-generated list of random numbers to receive imipramine (at a dose of 25 mg once nightly for the first 2 weeks, and then 50 mg thereafter) or placebo for 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was overall satisfactory relief of global dyspepsia symptoms at 12 weeks, via patient-reported assessment in the intention-to-treat population. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00164775, and is completed. FINDINGS: Between Sept 11, 2005, and Aug 20, 2010, 107 patients with treatment-refractory functional dyspepsia were randomly assigned to receive imipramine (n=55) or placebo (n=52). Relief of global dyspepsia symptoms at 12 weeks occurred in 35 (63·6%, 95% CI 50·4-75·1) of 55 patients on imipramine compared with 19 (36·5%, 95% CI 24·8-50·1) of 52 on placebo (p=0·0051). Ten (18%) patients on imipramine discontinued the study due to adverse events (three dry mouth, two constipation, two drowsiness, and one each insomnia, palpitations, and blurred vision), compared with four (8%) on placebo (one dry mouth and constipation, and one each palpitations, worsening of gastro-oesophageal reflux, and limb paraesthesia). There were no serious adverse events. INTERPRETATION: Low-dose imipramine should be considered as a possible therapy for patients with functional dyspepsia refractory to both PPIs and prokinetics, although patients should be cautioned about the adverse event profile. FUNDING: None.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cheong, PK; Ford, AC; Cheung, CKY; Ching, JYL; Chan, Y; Sung, JJY; Chan, FKL; Wu, JCY

Published Date

  • December 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 3 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 837 - 844

PubMed ID

  • 30361080

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2468-1253

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S2468-1253(18)30303-0


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands